READING has a new Community Champion – an Anglican vicar.
The Revd Nigel Hardcastle was awarded the title at the recent Pride of Reading awards.
Organised by the Reading Post, the ceremony saw Nigel receive his honour for his tireless work with the Reading Faith Forum.
It was given to him by Reading-born TV presenter Chris Tarrant. The presenter of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? told the Reading Post that the humbling stories behind the winners always made him feel proud to come from Reading.
Speaking to Xn, Nigel added that he hadn’t expected to win the award.
“It was rather nice to be nominated,” Nigel explained. “Then they called me to let me know I was on the shortlist. Winning was a complete surprise!
“I’m just about to retire from the leadership [of the Faith Forum], so it’s nice to be commemorated.”
And the award ceremony was a great occasion.
“I was the first name to be announced, right at the beginning,” Nigel revealed. “There were also lots of interesting and moving stories being told.”
Nigel is also the vicar of St Luke’s and St Bartholomew’s churches, both based in East Reading.
He helped set up the Reading Faith Forum 10 years ago and he has been instrumental in making it a successful initiative. He’s pleased that its work is receiving acknowledgement by the town.
“It’s a nice feather in the cap,” he says of his award. “Recognition [for what we do] is always good.
“Over the last couple of years, we’ve increased recognition of what the faith communities do for Reading within the town. Faith organisations are being recognised as active participants in the work of the town.”
The Reading Post organises the Pride of Reading awards every year and seeks to celebrate the unsung heroes of the town. Nominations are received from readers and cover a range of categories, including Child of Courage, Best Restaurant, and Local Hero.
- For more on the Reading Faith Forum, log on to www.readingfaithforum.com.